The Frosted Cake Boutique
How has your passion enriched your life?
My passion for cake decorating has enriched my life as it has brought so much self-awareness and confidence, something that I feel I lacked for decades. There was a void in my heart where I felt I could never be good enough, was constantly comparing myself to others, and just overall felt depressed. Once I started creating cakes and realized, hey I am actually good at this, did I start to build in those areas where I felt so low on myself. Creating cakes and building a business has opened up new possibilities for me, as well as new opportunities I never thought would come my way. If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would be featured in multiple wedding magazines, as well as competed on a national broadcasting cake decorating competition, I would probably laugh in your face. I just never thought about finding something I was so passionate about would lead to some amazing doors being opened. It is always a risk finding your passion and sticking with it even when you feel like you’re going to fail. And you will fail, time and time again, but because I loved what I did so much, I always got back up and tried again.
Did you experience body image struggles and how did you overcome them?
I have faced body-issue struggles for most of my life. Before I used to be too thin, and now people will openly tell me “oh you’ve gained weight!” Yeah, thanks, Sherlock. I have. And while I feel every day is a new battle with my weight, I have decided to choose happiness and joy while working towards healthy living. I like setting goals for myself and challenging myself to achieve better health goals, but the pressure of trying to look a certain way has left. There is so much going on in this world, and there are people that need you to be present. So I have chosen to be a better version of myself, for myself and others.
You went from corporate life to launching your own business. Tell us about your journey?
It took a long time to find my passion. After sitting at a desk job for over a decade, I felt really unfulfilled and that I was missing something. I was trying to find that one thing that brought me joy. I was also going through one of the hardest years in my personal life and knew I needed a distraction to make it through. One day I sat down and made a list of some hobbies that would be kind of fun and wanted to try out. The first on the list was cake decorating. After watching my mom and my aunt decorate cakes, I thought it would be pretty cool to work with sweets! After enrolling in a Michael’s cake decorating class, I knew I found what I wanted to do – cakes! It slowly began to unleash this creative side I had inside me that had been dormant for so long. It was scary at first because I really didn’t think I was good enough and I would worry about what others would think about this new venture. However, once I started working on cakes more regularly, I felt a release of anxiety and pressure from the everyday world. It was a whole NEW world for me, one where I could be my authentic self. It helped build my confidence, communication with others, strong leadership and really just loving the everyday hustle and bustle.
Who is part of your support system?
My husband, Ryan and I were best friends for several years before we decided we were the ones for each other. Apart from God, Ryan has been the driving force and strength behind me as a person and my business. He has allowed me to continue to stay true to my values, beliefs, and identity and pushed me forward with my career. He makes me a better person. I honestly don’t know where I would be right now if it were not for him. He is my driver for cake deliveries, constantly having to deal with me screaming at him from the back seat to drive slower, he is my accountant who takes care of all the finances, but more importantly, he is still my best friend.
What does self-care mean to you? How do you incorporate self-care into your busy schedule?
It is so easy to be consumed by the day to day activities and a busy schedule that there is very little time left just for you. Self-care is very important to me, and something I need to purposely carve out for myself each day. I start my morning spending time with God in prayer and reading the Bible. This helps me set the tone for my day and is truly refreshing. I also meal prep over the weekend for my entire week so I have all my meals ready to go. This has helped keep me eating healthy meals as well as avoiding unnecessary expensive meals. Aside from work, I like to end my evenings by reading a book or playing with my dogs. My husband and I also carve out date nights once a week to make sure we are always connecting separate from all the demands that are expected on us from the outside world. It’s not always easy to achieve self-care, as some days can be busier than others. However, it’s always important to make sure you check in with yourself to see how you are doing, what might be lacking in my life and areas where I feel I need more or less of something.
How did you get your fame on the Food Network?
I opened up my inbox one day and saw an email from a casting director from the Food Network Canada explaining to me about an opportunity to compete on a brand new cake decorating competition. At first, I thought that this couldn’t be real and had to be some kind of spam, but the more I looked into it, the more legit it became and I just couldn’t believe it. Me? On a cake decorating competition?? I used to watch these shows and totally admire the level of skill that these bakers possessed, but never in my wildest dreams did I feel I would be one of them! It wasn’t my first time in front of a camera. I did have a really great opportunity a few years back to compete on the Tamil Entertainment Television cake competition which was such a great experience. It allowed me to see what goes into putting on a production like this.
Success has different meanings for different people, how do you measure success?
Success to me is determining what my values are, and how closely aligned I am living according to those values. This applies not just to my cake business, but in every area of my life. Sometimes we get caught up with how we should be living, and social media plays a big role in that. We can tend to get lost in what is expected of us, how we should look and feel. But when we try to strive to reach other people’s values, we will always fall short. We need to compare ourselves, to our best selves. Revisiting our values every few months is also important as life tends to change and so do your goals.
What advice do you have for women who want to start their own business?
Starting a new entrepreneurial is both exhilarating and scary, but worth it if you have found your passion to do something you absolutely love. If you are thinking about doing this, I recommend doing an excessive amount of research into the industry you want to get into. Find out from your peers what the demand is, if education may be required to extend your understanding, selecting the right target audience for your products or services, and of course, marketing. How you market yourself and your brand will be pivotal to your business. Take advantage of all the different social media streams we now have to broaden your stretch. As you grow day by day, you’ll face a variety of different challenges that will help make you better. Each mistake is a learning opportunity for the next order. Practice your skills, build a portfolio of solid work, and reach out to your audience on ways they can benefit from contacting you. When I first started, I was extremely grateful to my cultural community as they ended up being the backbone of my business. I was one of the only brown (Sri Lankan) person doing cakes when I first started, and so I was able to market myself to my community which in turn led to an increased amount of orders. They helped me build the foundation of my business to get to where I am today.
The Frosted Cake Boutique
Edited by Sharmila Sivasankaran
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